The History of Trench Wars/Early History
- (October 1997 – November 1998)
In October 1997 Subspace changed forever, as the game finally went pay. The final plan was just the initial purchase of the game with no monthly payments. All of a sudden you could only play for free as someone named “~Demoxxx” (xxx = a number). Even with piracy being rampant, more than half the population quit forever never to be seen again. The pay version saw the addition of the Shark as a permanent ship (before it was the ship that only the VIE Programmers could use and was the super sysop ship), the removal of the Nightwasp and the replacement of that with the spinney shield icon, the addition of Rabbit Zone, King of the Hill, and the establishment of Powerball. And of course the biggest change of all, the addition of the server program free to all players.
This presented both a present and a major problem to the players. Players could now make their own zones and do the changes to the game they always wanted. But this also meant that VIE would probably depart soon, with the possibility of a central server also fading. As well, this provided a beautiful opportunity for cheaters to run rampant, although for the time being, the VIE servers with their more secure software would at least be safe. Finally this meant what the players feared most, a fragmentation of the community. The difference between Subspace and other Internet games such as Quake was most evident in the community. Whereas in Quake, players generally did not know each other, and people randomly played everywhere, in Subspace no matter what zone you were in, you were always able to talk to friends.
New zones started appearing quickly. Quickly establishing themselves was ZERO Annihilation and Hockey Zone. Over the next year, zones such as Star Warzone, A Small Warzone, Extreme Games, and Death Star Battle appeared on the stage. It was also during this time that Trench Wars made its debut. Created by a player named Silentdragon, Trench Wars was originally set up as a test zone hosted in the Sheep Cloning Facility. Silentdragon would go on to make all of the maps for Trench Wars up until late 1999 when the three-entrance map was finally added. Early players from this time include BobR, Louis XV, Sknox, Dgus, Akilla, and of course Silentdragon himself. In the early zone, Terriers couldn’t even maneuver when people were attached onto it and so as such LevTerrs were unheard of.
Several servers became the prime donors of bandwith in this time as well including Warzone (www.warzone.com), 2xT3 and iNet. In fact Warzone would become the host of Trench Wars, and MikeTheNose officially became the first moderator of the zone after a mixup left him on the moderator list as the server space which had hosted a zone called Warzone Chess had a moderator list that was never quite fully changed. Trench Wars would eventually move servers to 2xT3 and finally to it settled at the Finnish iNet servers. Also in Trench Wars, Ayden would become the first female moderator hired directly by akilla himself.
The new zones in Subspace were quickly denounced as “newbie zones” or “super zones” (a reference to the crazy settings of most of these new zones) by the old beta testers, who regarded any zone that did not follow directly with the old VIE settings as inferior.
Subspace at this time was on the decline. Although the new zones were slowly picking up players, the main VIE zones were slowly dwindling away. Players who had played since the beginning were moving on, and it looked as of Subspace’s days were numbered. In November 1998 the worst day in Subspace’s history occurred. Although the players were more or less prepared for it, VIE finally pulled the plug on their servers and with that Subspace changed forever.